Tips for Getting a Family Snapshot with out of Town Relatives

posted in: Photography | 0

My family loves photos. Maybe that’s part of the reason I was drawn to photography, right?  Anyways, my mom has a standing request when it comes to family.  When we have relatives visiting from out of town, she wants a family portrait.  Specifically, she wants me to take a portrait of everyone.  Sometimes we’ve been able to go more formal or planned with the portrait session, and other times, it’s on the impromptu side of things.

And that’s where this family snapshot was on the spectrum.  Desired, but spur of the moment, as our weekend plans had been put through a blender and the timing was just not conductive for a true family portrait.

Seriously, I think it took me longer to pack my gear before our trip than the photos took for me to take.  I spent less than five minutes taking snapshots of the kids, and about five minutes max taking a group portrait of the entire group.

Pre-session planning?  Non-existant.  Coordinated clothing?  On hand, but not being worn.  Relaxed session with lots of time for getting people to warm up and smile?  Nope, no time for that.  You name it, we covered the list of what not to do when planning your family portrait session.

But that’s okay.

Because this wasn’t a family portrait session.

This was a family snapshot.

Sometimes you need to document those moments — and there isn’t time for anything better.

So, what can you do to get a family snapshot with your out of town relatives?

First of all, relax.

  1. Don’t worry about getting it perfect.
  2. It’s okay if not everyone matches
  3. If your kids don’t have their shoes on, don’t sweat it.
  4. Do what you can with the time you have.
  5. Document your family with a snapshot, and know that it will be enough.

Seriously.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Not every family photo will be elegant.  But it will be real and authentic.  This family snapshot isn’t a portrait I would call award-winning.  But it does capture the moment, the spirit of our crazy busy weekend together with my out of town relatives.  People are looking at the camera.  Almost everyone is smiling.  And that’s life.

Sometimes you take what you can get, and have to remind yourself that it will be enough.

You don’t have to do perfect.

kid snapshot outdoors family photo michigan photographer
I piled the kids on the swing for some quick snapshots while we waited for everyone to gather for the main photo. These three were ready.
kid snapshot outdoors family photo michigan photographer
They were happy to smile for the camera….mostly, lol!
silly photo kid snapshot outdoors family photo michigan photographer
And then came the real highlight. Kids always love those silly pictures!!
kid snapshot outdoors family photo michigan photographer
The littlest cousin was ready for his photo, so we added him into the bunch.
kid snapshot outdoors family photo michigan photographer
No smiles from him, but looking at the camera — that works for me! We were tight on time, as I mentioned.
out of town relatives snapshot of group outdoors family photo michigan photographer
And here’s the whole family snapshot, with everyone. It’s not going to win any awards, but this is a precious portrait because of all the out of town relatives we managed to get together in one photo. Sometimes that’s what matters.

You know when I mentioned that family photos tend to happen every time we have out-of-town relatives visit?  Well, I wasn’t kidding.  And I’m thankful I have these, to show you how different styles of family photos can be valuable and precious — whether they are true studio family portraits or simple family snapshots on the fly.

Here’s a set of family photos from when my cousin and her daughter were visiting from out-of-town. Naturally, we did a portrait of my grandfather with (some of) his great-grandkids.

extended family portrait outdoors chelsea mi photographer dexter mi family photographer
Cousins together for the first time. They were happy to smile for the camera as long as I let them do a silly picture at the end!
extended family portrait outdoors chelsea mi photographer dexter mi family photographer
Great Grandpa with his oldest great-granddaughter.
extended family portrait outdoors chelsea mi photographer dexter mi family photographer
While not all of the great grandchildren, this was everyone there at that point in time!
extended family portrait outdoors chelsea mi photographer dexter mi family photographer
And the four generations all together!
extended family portrait outdoors chelsea mi photographer dexter mi family photographer
My cousin and I got a photo together too. Again, these were a step above snapshots, but as you know — a photograph can be priceless when you have memories connected to it!

This last family portrait I’m going to share is the most formal.  We did a studio portrait with three generations of extended family.  My mom has a set of these displayed in her living room as canvas gallery wraps — they look gorgeous.  We used the portrait of my kids for part of our Christmas card :).

extended family portrait indoors studio portrait dexter mi photographer ann arbor family portrait
Here’s a more formal family portrait that we did a few years back. That checklist of things to do before a portrait session? Complete! My mom has this hanging in her family room, and while it no longer shows everyone in the family, it is still a valuable family heirloom.
extended family portrait indoors studio portrait dexter mi photographer ann arbor family portrait
This portrait is also hangs on the wall next to the one above. Love it!
extended family portrait indoors studio portrait dexter mi photographer ann arbor family portrait
And one of my parents with their grandkids at the time. My mom was over the moon when she got to see the sneak peek from her portrait session for the first time. <3
extended family portrait indoors studio portrait dexter mi photographer ann arbor family portrait
And here’s my family from that same session. I can’t believe how much the boys have grown!!!
extended family portrait indoors studio portrait dexter mi photographer ann arbor family portrait
Those smiles are so cute!
extended family portrait indoors studio portrait dexter mi photographer ann arbor family portrait
This is one of our all-time favorite portraits of the boys with their dad. It’s a bit silly, maybe even worthy of the “outtake” status,… but I always include family portraits like this because it shows the loving and fun dynamics of a family relationship
extended family portrait indoors studio portrait dexter mi photographer ann arbor family portrait
And one of me with my boys. So sweet.

So, there you have it.  Family photos don’t always have to be perfect.  But they will always be representative of your family.  Make the best of the situation, get as many smiles as you can,… and if at all possible, have a family portrait photographer do your next family portrait.  Because I know from experience.  When you’re in charge of taking the picture, it’s a more stressful environment.

That’s why I do this.  I want my clients to be able to have memories of their family — without having to go through the stress of getting everyone posed for a family photo.  When you tell people to just listen to the photographer — you get to hand off the responsibility. It’s no longer your job to make sure everyone looks good, or that everyone is smiling for the camera.  That’s my job.  Your job is to relax and trust me to create images you will want to give to your grandchildren one day.  For more information about scheduling a family portrait session, call 734-424-0472 or contact the studio via our website.  I’ll walk you through the whole planning process and make your next family portrait the most relaxing one yet!

Making Time to Enjoy Baseball

posted in: Notes | 0

Don’t you love being outdoors? I’m so glad that the warm weather has finally showed up! Although, with spring and summer comes a flurry of activities. Baseball, swimming, golf, nature walks, you name it!

dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
This was Toby’s first time catching. He looked like a natural!

My oldest son, Toby, has moved up to machine pitch baseball with Dexter Little League this year, so we’ve been spending quite a bit of time at the ball diamond. My husband is coaching for the fourth season, so we constantly have baseball gear coming out of our ears. It might seem like a big time commitment, right? Yes… but it’s worth it.

I get to set my to-do list aside and simply watch Toby being a kid. And I get to chat with other parents who are doing the same thing! And the little siblings have fun too, in their own way (Zack, my younger son, loves to playing on the bleachers, or in the ball diamond dirt). I love the community that comes with baseball.

Most days, you’ll find me happily carrying a pocket camera. But, every so often, I’ll bring my DSLR camera and zoom lens to a ball game. For me, there’s just something about capturing a moment, a memory. It’s the process of creating and documenting life… and while I’m often busy doing this for my clients, it’s important to me that I do the same for my own family!!

So, with that in mind, here are a few photos from one of Toby’s recent games. Enjoy!

dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
Zack was on the sidelines for part of the game, cheering for his big brother.  Plus…. popcorn, because baseball and snacks go together. {Side note: isn’t this chair awesome??} 🙂
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
…part of the game is learning to sit on the bench when most of your team is out on the field.
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
Toby and a teammate on the bench.
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
My husband, carrying on the family tradition of coaching baseball .
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
Toby transitioned to machine pitch from t-ball really well! it was really amazing to see how much the kids had all matured since last season 🙂  {Side note: you can see Steven coaching at first base in this photo. I love my zoom!}
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
Toby did a good job of getting on base…
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
…rounding third base…
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
…and safe at home! Toby was so proud of himself 🙂
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
Even though the balls are thrown by the machine, kids still get to take turns playing the position of pitcher.
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
Go speed racer! Toby had fun looking at the photos I took to see if he was running fast enough for both his feet to be off the ground at the same time.
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
As the sun got lower in the sky, Toby got another run. He was so proud of himself.
dexter little league machine pitch baseball dexter mi youth sports photo
I love seeing good sportsmanship!!

Thanks for letting me share these family memories with you!  I hope that you’ve found fun ways to capture memories of things you enjoy doing as a family.  🙂

Studio Portraits of My Dog :: Meet Apollo!

posted in: Photography | 0

Life has been pretty busy around here. But, I’ve finally taken studio portraits of my dog.  Yes, we have a new pup! As an aside, if you’re looking for a lab, I highly recommend Northern Lites Labs in Grayling, Michigan.  We made the drive from Dexter to Grayling to pick him up, and it was totally worth it.  This pup is one of the calmest labs I’ve ever met. Except for his mom.  Apollo has got a soft mouth already, and is very tolerant of everything our crazy household has thrown his way.  Plus, he came to us practically housetrained — and he slept through the night in his crate without any issues right from the get-go.  Seriously. Northern Lites Labs is a fantastic breeder.

Now, onto the portraits!  Apollo is a chocolate lab, and he’s not quite 5 months yet. What a handsome guy.  We are so lucky to have found him! Our dog photo session was cut short because one of my little assistants left the treat container on the floor. Yes, open.  So, Apollo naturally got into them… and we had to postpone the rest of the photos for another day. No need for a sick puppy!  Regardless, our mini session was very fruitful.  I think we spent under 15 minutes getting all these studio portraits of my dog.  That’s excluding the two minutes of crazy kid photos you’ll see at the end of this post (my assistants like to pose for the camera).

Studio Portraits of My Dog, Apollo! studio portraits of my chocolate lab puppy, Apollo studio photo of my chocolate labrador chocolate labrador studio photos dog photo by puppy photographer dexter michigan

I have to admit, even though I already think my dog is a good looking pup, when I saw the results of his portrait session I was wowed.  Seriously adorable.  Okay, I’m sure you’re tired of all the gushing about how cute this puppy is!

Before we wrap this post up, here’s the “test shot” or two of my kids.  Yes, my photo assistants wanted to do some silly photos to make sure my camera was working correctly. So, per my usual, I made Toby and Zack smile first.

Although adorable, remember, they are a textbook example of what NOT to wear to your photo session! LOL

....what not to wear for your studio portrait session!

what not to wear for your studio portrait session
….what not to wear for your studio portrait session!

If you are looking to have studio portraits of your dog (or human family), please contact Betsy via the web or call 734-424-0472. Let’s get you set up with some fantastic photos of your own!

Welcoming Baby Finn! (Meet Zachary)

posted in: Parenting | 4

What a blessing to welcome another healthy boy to the Finn family! Zachary arrived less than a week after his due date, after about 10 hours of labor (less than three of which we spent at the hospital).  Here’s a photo of me holding him at the hospital, I think he was still under 24 hours old at this point.

Newborn Baby Photo -Welcoming Zachary! - BPhotoArt.com

There are so many wonderful moments and memories to share with you from Zachary’s arrival and first days.  Since I have had my hands *a little* full, I figured it would be easiest to share them all as a video slideshow (like I did with Toby’s birth story).

Zachary is mellow, calm, and a phenomenal sleeper.  At birth, he was smaller than his brother by quite a bit.  We actually had to stop at our favorite kid’s store, The Little Seedling, on the way home from the hospital because our infant car seat wasn’t fitting right.  Had their carseat tech check the setup, and we ultimately left with a new carseat that fit much better.

Making the transition from one to two kids has been ….well, not without problems, but overall we are all doing well.  The cats didn’t bat an eye at the new human we brought home.  Big brother has done really well; we’ve been working on using words to communicate when Toby is feeling in need of attention.  He is such a big helper, and has been so excited to hug and kiss his little brother.  We parents are doing pretty well too.  Recovery for mom has been fantastic… as I just mentioned we made our first outing on the way home from the hospital.  Night and day difference from last time — and for that, I am more thankful than words can express

I’ll be sharing some official newborn portraits in the near future, but for now, you can enjoy the video slideshow here, as well as the snapshots I’ve been sharing on Instagram.  Here’s one of both boys at a recent chiropractic visit:

And one of Zachary sleeping, wrapped up snugly in the baby blanket my mother crocheted for me when I was a baby myself.

Maternity Pictures With the Family

posted in: Photography | 8

These days, we’re in countdown mode, awaiting the arrival of baby. I’m slightly amused at how relaxed things have been this pregnancy, preparation-wise (thoughts on my second pregnancy). With our first, we made sure we had our i’s dotted and t’s crossed. This time, it’s more go with the flow, we get done what we get done — and really, we have most things already from the first time around.

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I’m excited to share some maternity pictures with you! These were taken just shy of 39 weeks (compare to 18 weeks pregnant), and I have to admit, I had been getting a little worried about whether this little one would cooperate so that we had time to do the portraits.

In case you’re looking to plan ahead and do any maternity pictures, the seventh or eighth month is usually ideal — just don’t wait too long because sometimes babies do make their debut early (that whole “due date” thing is really just an estimate).

As a comparison, here are my maternity pictures from the first pregnancy, and Toby’s first pictures as a newborn. It will be exciting to see how these babies look similar/different compared to one another… I can’t wait!

Maternity Pictures

Click on any image to enter gallery view mode

Big Brother-to-be

And then here are some of Toby with each of us. I love doing family pictures like these… they make great gifts for mom or dad’s office ;). These sets of images were a sort of “reward” for good behavior during the portrait session. Click on any image to enter gallery view mode

Pregnancy + Birth Resources

I’ve been busy pinning pregnancy and birth resources to Pinterest lately, as there are so many good ideas out there that I just want to be able to find if needed. If you’re currently pregnant, maybe some of these resources could be helpful for you too!

Follow Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com’s board Pregnancy + Birth on Pinterest.

What About You

At this point, our child’s arrival is still up in the air. Feel free to take any guesses you’d like so far as arrival date and stats. I’ll be honest, I’m just hoping that this one is ready to come out *before* two weeks “late” :).

I’m always happy to receive advice, even though we’ve been through the birth experience before. I have to say, it’s interesting to see how our perspective on pregnancy and birth changes once we’ve “been there, done that.” Any tips or thoughts you’d like to share?

In Utero Baby Pictures (~20 Week Ultrasound)

posted in: Notes | 0

This week we went in for our 20 week ultrasound; we’ve returned with some in utero baby pictures to share! Well, I’m actually past 20 weeks at this point (over halfway through!), but for some reason we didn’t get on the schedule soon enough so we had to do it a little later.

The three of us all were able to be present for the “picture session” (as I explained it to our toddler), and Toby was excited to see the special “camera” that would look inside mama’s belly and take pictures of his baby brother. Since then, he’s been talking about the “goop” that was on mama’s belly during the baby pictures and how the tech put it on for the doctor to do a final well-being check (all looks great!).

20 Week Ultrasound - in utero baby pictures Read More

Maternity Portrait

posted in: Photography | 0

As promised, here is one of the maternity portraits that my little assistant helped me create in the studio.  I’ve not been one to keep track of which week or trimester I’m in this time around; that must be due to the busy life of mothering a toddler in addition to running my studio.  Anyways, the “calendar” I consulted puts me at around 18 weeks (mid-second trimester).  Toby is excited to be a big brother and keeps checking on baby: “baby is drinking and eating.”  Yup, likely the case.  Sort of.

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Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!

posted in: Fine Art | 2

We had some bugs spend the night at our house the other day. Well, in the garage, to be exact. Grandpa sent these home with us, so we could watch them a little while longer before setting them free the next morning. The katydid took up residence on our deertick flower, and the praying mantis liked the Jerusalem artichoke we set her on. In case you can’t tell from these pictures (see more below), someone was REALLY excited to have these bugs around. He’s been talking about praying mantises all week. katydids, not as much…but then again, we didn’t have the interesting backstory for that little lady. The praying mantis had just eaten a humongous bumble bee before entering captivity. Read More

Getting Bigger!

posted in: Photography | 0

While we have been keeping up to date with my own toddler’s portraits, I haven’t had time to share them with you before now. So, here we are — this series was from a few weeks ago; it’s interesting to see how quickly they change.

One of his new favorite toys (thanks in part to his cousins, both here and in Chicago) — trains.  Thomas or otherwise, this kiddo is enthralled by all things train.  Or anything with wheels, wings, or propellers for that matter.

And since someone was getting a little antsy (i.e. jumping off the stairs towards the end of our session) — I decided to step out from behind the camera and let my assistant take a portrait of both of us.  I love this one.  (shh… don’t tell but I was tickling him to get such a big grin).

Our Fall Family Portraits

posted in: Photography | 0

Well, I am sad to say these images were caught in the blog-void since this past fall.  Fortunately, the images were of my own family, so I don’t feel as bad.  This way, though, I can wish you a happy new year and send some good vibes your way for 2013!

I enjoy planning our family portrait each year, and try to find a way to make each one unique.  Fortunately, with a growing toddler, it is pretty easy to do that.  …since kids grow so much from year to year.  That aside, we planned an outdoor portrait at a park in Jackson.  While I was hoping for more vibrant fall colors, we came across this lovely water feature and decided it would make a great setting for our portrait.  Yes, this is the one that went on our Christmas card.  And yes, that is a watering can in the portrait with us.  Sometimes a happy kiddo is more important than a superfluous prop in the portrait.  It’s all about picking your battles… and in this case I think we all came out on top.

bphotoart-family-portrait-20274-033 Read More

Four Generation Family Portrait

posted in: Photography | 0

Over the holidays, and we managed to plan an impromptu family portrait. I was thrilled, as I always emphasize the importance of images like this to my clients, but haven’t been able to coordinate one for my own family since before our little one joined the family. I am so glad we were able to capture this portrait of myself, my son, my mother, and my grandfather.

Timing constraints didn’t allow us to include more family members, but I am confident we can plan something for the next family get together. This portrait is already hanging on the wall in our kitchen, where I have been able to enjoy it on a daily basis.

Birthday Pictures

posted in: Photography | 0

I love doing birthday pictures that include cake, cupcakes, or some sort of treat for a toddler. And this session was no exception.

First, for the birthday cupcake inspection…

One Year Birthday Photographs

And after a little cajoling, we finally got a bit messy! Sadly, I think we got more icing on the floor and on the adults than on the toddler… go figure (guess Baby Led Solids/Weaning really does work).

Michigan Toddler Birthday Picture

Finally, since he was in town visiting, we talked Great Grandpa into helping with the session. Here’s one of those portraits:

Great Grandfather Portrait Session

Happy first birthday!! Such a cutie pie 🙂 🙂

Toddler Portrait

posted in: Photography | 0

I’m told that the term “toddler” is somewhat relative, and that for the most part you can use it once a baby starts walking. So, it looks like we have a toddler on our hands now! Despite his desire to abstain from walking or standing during our portrait session, we ended up with some precious portraits of the little one… including a few that show off the new teeth!

Michigan Toddler Portrait (1)

Still as happy as ever… with a mouthful of teeth (4 already in, and two more about to cut through).

Michigan Toddler Portrait (2)

Sadly this ball isn’t quite as tasty as his favorite fruit (apples). While sitting at the kitchen table the other day, he debated between an apple and an orange, and then (with a big smile) picked up and proceeded to bite into a very tasty apple.

Michigan Toddler Portrait (3)

They grow so quickly; it’s hard to believe Toby is entering toddlerhood already!

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